by Sanja Dejanović
On April 12, 2022, I was honored to receive the Special VIRTUS Award for individual contribution to poverty reduction in 2021 from the Trag Foundation. The nomination for this prestigious award was submitted by Olivera Miškić, the manager of the ACT Foundation in Serbia. While I was unaware of the nomination process, Olivera diligently completed the nomination form, answering various questions and highlighting the activities in which I participated.
Upon receiving the VIRTUS special award for individual contribution to poverty reduction in 2021 from the TRAG Foundation, I was forwarded the nomination text. As I read through it, I was overwhelmed with emotions and shed tears of joy. The words written there expressed immense love and appreciation. To be honest, I have never undertaken any actions with the expectation of receiving rewards or recognition. I simply do what I feel compelled to do in the moment, leaving the results and merits in the hands of a higher power. As one of my clients once said, “Bokče ima blokče,” which translates to “God keeps a record.” I recognized the ACT FOUNDATION platform back in 2018 and found it to be an exceptional platform where compassionate individuals can join forces and make a meaningful difference for those in need. Since childhood, I have been deeply troubled by the inequality that exists on our planet, which has propelled me to take action from within. Ideas flow naturally, and people come together to bring them to fruition. It is not a matter of choice; it is a drive from the depths of my being. And for the past four years, I have been volunteering for ACT, and my enthusiasm continues to grow. Ideally, we would all live in a world where no such activities are necessary, but since that is not the case, let us unite even further so that such a world can become a reality one day.
On this occasion, I would like to express my gratitude to Olivera and the board of directors for the nomination, as well as all my fellow volunteers. Without their participation and response to my ideas, many of them would not have been realized. I also extend my thanks to the musicians, poets, chefs, associations, individuals, and all the wonderful people I have collaborated with, including my friends and Reiki students who joined the volunteer team in Belgrade and throughout Serbia. Moreover, I am grateful to everyone who attends our events such as humanitarian concerts, humanitarian dinners, music-poetry evenings, and laughter yoga workshops, as their presence and support make these endeavors possible. Their contributions bring smiles to people’s faces and make their hearts dance because they know that someone cares. I appreciate every single person who has participated in any way, even by sharing event announcements, as this represents our collective acknowledgment. Lastly, I want to express a heartfelt thank you to the TRAG Foundation for deciding to award me with this special recognition and for filling the space where I live with these wonderful hearts.
Shortly after receiving the award, on April 21, 2022, I organized a humanitarian concert called the Evening of Indian Culture and Tradition in Serbia, which was my idea and coordinated by the ACT FOUNDATION. Just a few days after the concert, I had the privilege of traveling to Ukraine for a two-week volunteering experience with two of my colleagues. I have documented my impressions of this experience separately. Later in November of the same year, I organized another concert titled TRADITIONAL SERBIA, which featured outstanding performers, dance ensembles, flutist Vlada Baralić, and the remarkable music ensemble Fenečki Biseri. Željko Utvar, a custodian of traditional costumes with over 5000 examples in his collection, also contributed to the magical atmosphere at both concerts.
As the founder of the ACT FOUNDATION, dear Mohanji, says: “Selfless service is worship. It is meditation. It is surrender. It is purification.”
ACT Foundation volunteer in Serbia since 2018.